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Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) Treatment

Information on Silver Diamine Fluoride

We recommend the application of Silver Diamine Fluoride (SDF) as a form of treatment to arrest the progression of cavities in your child. Traditionally, dental treatment involves removal of tooth decay, and restoration of the tooth with a filling.

What is SDF?

SDF is an anti-microbial agent used on cavities to stop and prevent tooth decay. It is a colorless liquid that is applied on the affected teeth using a microbrush. There may be a mild metallic taste and an ammonia smell during application, which will dissipate quickly.

Why is SDF Recommended?

For your child who has severe early childhood caries (SECC) and needs early intervention to prevent the disease from progressing, SDF provides the quickest way to get the affected teeth or difficult-to-treat caries managed in one visit. For best results, application may be recommended every 6-12 months.

SDF may be an alternative to traditional treatment for uncooperative and fearful children.

What Are the Benefits of SDF?

  • SDF has been proven to be the most effective in stopping tooth decay.
  • It is non-intimidating and does not involve the use of dental drills or injection.
  • The procedure is fast, painless and easy
  • SDF relieves sensitivity
  • Fewer follow-up visits as compared to other forms of fluoride.

Is it Safe?

● There have been no severe adverse events reported where it has been used for decades.
● There are no reported health risks.

Common Side Effects?

  • Tooth cavities will be stained black permanently. Healthy tooth structure will not be stained.
  • Tooth-colored fillings and crowns may discolor if SDF is applied to them.
  • Cavitated teeth, or teeth with holes, will still require a restoration to prevent food from packing in the area
  • SDF is not a treatment for certain teeth such as those with deep cavities
  • SDF is not a cure for dental decay, it is a treatment option
  • Accidental application on skin/ gums may leave a temporary harmless brown/white stain, which will resolve in 1-3 weeks.
  • In rare cases, there may be a mild stinging sensation accompanying small red or white lesions, which will go away in 1-2 days.
  • Risk of tooth decay progression remains if there is no change in high-risk habits.


SDF should not be used if:

  1. Your child is allergic to silver
  2. There are ulcers in the mouth

What Other Treatment Options Do I Have?

  • Depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay, other treatment includes filling or crown, extraction, involving local or general anaesthesia
  • If left untreated, cavities may lead to continued deterioration of dental condition. Symptoms may increase in severity over time.